How do you create a powerful experience that leaves a mark on your customers? This important question continues to drive brands of all sizes to seminar after seminar. And, sometimes, some brands do get it right, and sometimes, despite substantial investment, they don't. Which is why we loved it when, in 2009, we stumbled on a small, independent Australian resort that had nailed it. In the crowded market of luxury/boutique travel emerges Pretty Beach House, nestled in the escarpment above Pretty Beach on Bouddi Peninsula, on the New South Wales Central Coast just 100 kilometres north of Sydney, Australia.
From the beginning, Pretty Beach House set a new standard not just because of its exquisite location and its exclusive home-like setting of just four private villas, but it also exceeded all expectations in terms of cuisine.
We stayed there every year and consistently kept it on our 10 best places to stay list, together with Castello Di Reschio in Italy , El Palauet in Barcelona land Saffire in Tasmania
But it late 2012, a fire destroyed much of the main pavilion and our favourite resort closed for more than two years for complete restoration.
However, last month, the Pretty Beach House has reopened, and we can now breathe easier knowing exactly where our next vacation will take us!
The main pavilion is elegantly restored with decommissioned railway timbers from 1883 and each of the four pavilions – Treetops, Bayview, Hideaway and The Retreat – are beautifully appointed with works and craftsmanship of local and international artists and artisans.
The resort is run by Brian and Karina Barry, also proprietors of Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa.
The resort continues its tradition as a foodies paradise with its spectacularly cool new kitchen led by distinguished chefs and restaurateurs, Stefano Manfredi and Julie Manfredi Hughes, whose incredible cuisine impresses us every single time.
The interior design of the villas is un-pretentious and beautifully fitting for the environment. Natural fibres, muted colours and restful accents create a perfect setting for the views of the incredible landscape with hundreds of old gum trees standing there like living sculptures.
The villas interiors are luxurious but not over the top and feature raw, natural materials which blend in with the more 'designer' elements. Privacy is paramount which is why, three of the four villas also has its own private swimming pool. The villas have their own old school record player along with a selection of vinyl, iPods with songs already loaded on it, king size beds have linen sheets, bathtubs and wireless internet (for online-junkies) so there's nothing else to do but slide from day bed to pool and back again in a haze of sedation, facilitated by attentive staff who materialise at your every whim.
The setting is beautiful but the real thrill begins when it's time to eat. For us, it really is all about the food and everything else is a bonus. From the continental breakfast to the lunch and degustation dinners - everything is extraordinary.
Manfredi has exported and integrated his sophisticated, big-city fine dining into this laid-back environment. And he often serves guests himself. If anything, the trip to Pretty Beach House is worth it just for this. Where else can you experience one of Sydney's top chefs cooking just for you and a tiny handful of others?
Aside from sleeping, relaxing, eating and drinking, you can wander down to Tallow Beach for a swim, or take one of the charters to go swimming on secluded, secret beaches, or to go fishing or dolphin watching.Aside from sleeping (in extraordinary beds, we must note), lazing, eating and drinking, you can wander down to Tallow Beach for a swim and a dose of dolphin watching. Or if you're in search of a slice of adventure you hop into the Pretty Beach House boat or take out a helicopter ride over the area.
For more information check out the site prettybeachhouse.com.au. - Bill Tikos
For as long as architecture and music have coexisted they have been far more dependent on each other than one may have initially realized. There is an equidistance between how architecture has shaped the evolution of music and how music has done the same for architecture.
It’s the notion of harmony within spaces, that essential idea that the engrained harmony and vibrancy that flows through a space then goes on to give that overall place a particular identity and then in the reverse order.
As early as the 1400’s architects would use music to define structure for the most beautiful of building types.
Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti described it in this way;
“We shall therefore borrow all our Rules for Finishing our Proportions, from the Musicians, who are the greatest Masters of this Sort of Numbers, and from those Things wherein Nature shows herself most excellent and compleat.”
On the flipside to this, time has seen music progressively adapting to fit the containers in which it is being exhibited in, hence the birth of electronic music and stadium rock.
So how does this all relate to a somewhat hidden nightclub tucked away within a laneway in Melbourne’s CBD? The answer to that is it’s a further continuation of this evolutionary partnership between the worlds of music and design.
It’s ‘Bond’, a place built upon bold spaces, bold design and bold harmonies which evoke a sense of confidence, as if you’ve ordered a martini shaken not stirred and are playing it effortlessly cool.
The sleek lines and curvature in the design mimic the music which pulsates from wall to wall and overtime as the music has evolved so has the place, into a sophisticated sub-ground lair with just the right amount of retro edge.
Most impressively Bond holds a particular contextual importance as it is attached to an inner-city carpark facility, notoriously known as the big ugly villain with metal teeth within any city. Yet this carpark has now become the beautiful woman sitting at the bar with a hidden mystery.
Bond’s interior layout combines the fluidity, openness and vibrancy of an amphitheater with intimate corners, enclosed booths, and numerous private settings, brought to life by state of the art lighting and sound and custom made furnishings.
This kind of execution doesn’t come about cheap nor does it occur without the work of a design team which appreciates the harmonies and spaces within a place.
Fady Hachem of Melbourne-based design and architectural studio ‘Hachem’ first encountered Bond as 21-year-old graduate from RMIT, where he managed to do what any other student would struggle to and convince the then owners to let him develop the interior concepts, bold brand development and manage their sites $2m overhaul.
As does music and architecture go in circles drawing from the old to create new so has Bond. Hachem many years later was re-commissioned to do a $5m refurbishment creating an interior layout that is so far removed from anything you’ve seen in Melbourne, evoking a feeling of escapism and luxury. Ironically it does feel like you’re on the movie set for the latest James Bond film.
By creating a multi-functional space, Bond is now capable of catering to a wider variety of clientele. The bar promotes a New York styled bottle service and punters can enjoy a $50,000 exclusive experience that comes with helicopter rides, a personal chauffeur, masseuse, private waitresses to Cuban cigars and a range of drinks such as a personalised 15L bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and Bond edition Bollinger. Very Bond indeed!
Bond is more than a nightclub or a bar, its architectural elegance meets ultimate nightlife experience and has set the tone for future design within its field in Australia. To experience the harmonies, spaces and place visit Bond at 16-24 Bond St, Melbourne. - David Mousa
This elegant set of modern cutlery represents an incredible balance of tradition, style, luxury and practicality. Today’s heirloom without the stuffy grandmotherly undertones. Perfect as a wedding gift. Or a splurge for yourself when you know that you will want just one set of “better” cutlery to add a sense of occasion to any mealtime.
A modern, minimalist masterpiece that also happens to be factory made and even machine washable. No polishing, no fuss.
Designed and manufactured in Portugal, the pieces are light-weight but still have a substantial feel. They are elegant, not dainty. Traditional but not dated.
This stunning 24 piece cutlery set with sleek resin handles contains six knives, six forks, six spoons & six tea spoons made of stainless steel with a chic white matt gold finish.
We cannot take our eyes off the eerie umbrella-holding human figures that dangle seemingly in mid-air in the 7,000 square-foot (650 square metre) office of ad agency Fold7 Farringdon (Clerkenwell, London).
The figures were created by Czech artist Michal Trpák who has used similar humans-with-umbrellas themes, most notably in his large-scale work, Slight Uncertainty, installed in an office complex in Prague in 2012.
In Fold7’s office, the humans float in the entrance area of the ad agency’s premises located in a refurbished 1980s office building. The sheer volume of the space gives the artwork the visual open air it requires in order to appear fun and inviting, as intended, rather than spooky and menacing.
Fold7’s founder Ryan Newey and Paul Crofts Studio acquired the art as part of the design of the swanky digs for the 45 Fold7 employees. A large part of the space is unassigned and functions as an open plan with various options for employees, clients and projects to move around as needed.
Fold7’s slogan, “Welcome to the Fold,” greets visitors in the form of a massive sign by Voodoo Design.
Paul Crofts Studio was established in 2003 in London by furniture design graduate, Paul Crofts, and it is known for creating interiors as well as customized products and furnishings.
Ryan Newey’s career began with the creation of the Ted Baker brand that was the founding client of his firm. Since that time, his Fold7 agency’s clients have include British Airways, Carlsberg, Disney, Nike and Reebok. - Tuija Seipell
Andee Hess, founder of Portland, and his Oregon-Based Osmose have done their magic in Miami where they have helped revive what was a tired Coral Gables neighborhood bank by turning it into Small Tea, a tea boutique concept by Daniel Charles Joseph Benoudiz.
Small Tea extolls the benefits of real human connection via the consumption of tea under a canopy of 1,250 boxes wrapped in abaca or manila hemp, a type of banana-tree fiber used for baskets in some tea-growing areas.
We, of course, notice the elegant use of wood and wood slats, and oval and rounded accents, all of which helps evoke a tranquil sense of order and serenity.
Last fall, Hess and Osmose helped Portland’s Stumptown Coffee establish its swanky presence in New York’s Greenwich Village with reclaimed church pews and other previously loved pieces creating a great been-here-forever atmosphere. - Tuija Seipell.
Contextually it’s pivotal, an artistic exploration of the metaphysical, developed in the digital; all rhymes aside, Los Angeles based artist Anthony Gargasz,’s new collection ‘Metallic Faces’ simply cannot be ignored for these three reasons.
Fifteen years ago there was no such thing as ‘Photoshop art’. The thought that art could be generated on computers would have made traditionalists cringe.
However, what Anthony has managed to achieve by using his background in digital design is breathtaking and its art in the finest sense of the word.
His work is far more than simply ‘generated’, instead it’s an array of elaborate details carefully constructed, layer upon layer to create clean and unique imagery.
Anthony follows the exact same artistic progression as somebody who paints, sculpts or draws yet the main point of difference is that his tools are a keyboard, mouse and drawing tablet.
Essentially it’s digital collaging and in the same way architects and other designers are moving into the technological age, so are artists. This is why Anthony’s work holds such contextual importance because he is using such a widely spread platform in a unique manner to create beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces.
It’s a process which has allowed him to collaborate with the likes of Paramount Pictures, VH1, Sony Pictures and Nickelodeon; designing key art.
His work does what good art should do, it takes familiarity and makes you question it. In relation to ‘metallic faces’ he uses the familiar organic form of the human head, giving it mechanical and architectural qualities.
There is a real juxtaposition of the familiar and unfamiliar in this collection. In one sense the overall form is clearly a human face yet then you begin to question if it really is as you study all the small details that hold similar properties to a luxury car design, e.g. liquid fluidity and metallic solidity.
In many ways these pieces are on a similar frequency to Joseph Kosinski’s 2010 remake of the 1982 hit ‘Tron’. Kosinski used objects people would be familiar with, however repurposed them, gave them digital qualities and this in turn forced the viewer to consider what life could be like in the not too distant future.
Anthony Gargasz has done exactly this by repurposing the human face and giving it digital qualities.
Another unique aspect of Anthony’s work is the movement each piece seems to have, despite it being a still print. Each individual element meticulously flows into another through a variance of colours, shadows and tones; as to suggest some sort of motion far beyond being passive.
It’s more than just a series of conversation pieces, in fact each piece appears to be having an internal conversation with itself. How each element comes together and blends strikes a chord with the way music is composed or some sort of digital brain-storming process.
Is this collection the story of a bionic man? Is it some sort of futuristic exploration? Perhaps it’s a representation of how complex the human form is, either way the beauty is in looking at each piece and trying to decipher its true intention for yourself.
Anthony Gargasz has well and truly found his way onto the list of The Cool Hunters favourite artists and has been commissioned to complete three very impressive prints. Purchase from our online store here - David Mousa.
The work of an extraordinary artistic talent such as CJ Hendry deserves and demands more than plain white walls for its showcase.
That was the approach The Cool Hunter took right from the beginning with her meticulous hand-drawn art work.
TCH first introduced her in Sydney, Australia, as part of the Art Hunter experience in conjunction with Jaguar.
This was followed by her first solo presentation, a four-day exclusive art and food reception at a private luxury residence in Sydney.
Following that successful sell out debut, TCH has just launched CJ Hendry’s 50 Foods in 50 Days Gourmet Experience in Melbourne.
Every one of CJ Hendry’s pieces has been sold out prior to the three events, and such was the case with 50 Foods in 50 Days as well. Each of the 50 square black-and-white hand-drawn pieces, depicting photo-realistic French designer plates with various food items, was sold as soon as the series was announced. The hunger for her art seems to be insatiable!
The CJ Hendry Gourmet Art Experience takes place from March 27 to April 12 at 166 Gertrude Street in Fitzroy, Melbourne’s most interesting neighbourhood. The space used to be a paint store until Kalex Boutique Property Development transformed it into an event space.
To create an arresting milieu for the art and the food, The Cool Hunter briefed its go-to event designer extraordinaire, Sydney-based Natalie Longheon, to create a minimal monochrome gourmet food store stocked with the best packaged food products from Australia and around the world.
As usual, Natalie more than delivered. Dramatic black envelopes the viewer and draws all attention to the mesmerizing art and intriguing gourmet food. The dramatic launch event build and production was by Moth Design.
Catering for our opening was by Melbourne’s best caterer, Georgina Damm from Damm Fine Food. Black cones filled with Parmesan and horseradish gelato topped with caviar and flowers.
Coffee is provided by Melbourne’s coffee tasting specialists at Sensory Lab who created a pop up coffee store for the duration of the CJ Hendry experience.
Photography by Peter Tarasiuk.
CJ Hendry Gourmet Art Experience
166 Gertrude St
27 March - 12 April
Monday's - Closed
Tue to Friday - 12pm - 8pm
Sat/Sun - 10am - 4pm
Closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday - open Easter Saturday
Last November, TeamLab, a Japanese collective of architects, designers, artists, programmers and engineers, installed a large-scale retrospective of its work at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo.
The two main interactive digital art exhibitions of the retrospective – “Digital Art” that toured the world in 2014, and “Learn and Play! teamLab Future Park” experience park for children – have been so popular at the Miraikan that the show has been extended till May 1, 2015.
In addition to the two exhibitions, the installation event has also included new pieces and components that have rotated from time to time.
One of the recently re-installed pieces is the interactive experience called Floating Flower Garden that involves more than 2,300 living and growing plants suspended from the ceiling.
The plants interact with the visitor so that the plants closest to the viewer float up while the others stay lower. This creates a cocoon or a personal, airy flowering “room” with the viewer at its centre.
The plants are constantly in motion reacting to the movements of the viewers. If several people approach an area simultaneously, the plants react by re-creating the space around them.
TeamLab describes the thinking behind this meditative space: “Japanese Zen gardens are said to have been born as a place for Zen priests to carry out training so that they can become one with nature. The garden is a microcosm of the vastness of the surrounding natural mountain areas where they gathered to train.”
TeamLab’s group of “ultra-technologists” is lead by 38-year-old CEO Toshiyuki Inoko who co-founded TeamLab in 2001. He is also currently serving as a creative industry private sector expert for the Cool Japan project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. - Tuija Seipell
Two basic ideas – one gold and one black - result in dramatic impact in the new Gold Souk building at the Beverwijk Bazaar in The Netherlands.
Rotterdam-based Liong Lie Architects had the cool opportunity to design a brand new hall for the gold dealers and goldsmiths that offer their wares each weekend at the Goudstraat (Goldstreet) at the Eastern Market of the famous Bazaar.
The designers based the uneven shape of the building on a raw piece of gold. They covered the façade with gold-tinted panels with a triangle pattern. The panels are placed in different orientations so that the entire building sparkles and shimmers under different lighting conditions during the day and at night.
And how do you outshine all that glitter of wall-to-wall gold inside? You don’t. Instead, you stay out of the way. Liong Lie chose to paint every surface inside black giving the space a night-time feel and allowing the gold really shine. A mysterious “Arabian Nights” feel envelops the visitors as soon as they step into the building from the daylight.
The Bazaar in Beverwijk is a massive indoor public “fleamarket in overdrive.” With more than 2,000 shops and more than 60 food establishments in numerous halls, De Bazaar offers clothing, accessories, toys, food and even gold. - Tuija Seipell.